Salt-Crusted Leg of Lamb

Every year, Joel and his partner Pam Smith host an Orphans’ Christmas at their home in Victoria. And since the pair have worked in hospitality across Western Canada, from the Rimrock Resort in the Rockies to Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island, their “orphans” often travel to Victoria just for the dinner! While the guest list changes from year to year, one thing is constant: Joel never makes turkey.

  • By Joel Pollock, Yalla
  • December 16, 2016
  • Yield: Serves 8


1 bone-in leg of lamb (about 6 pounds)

1⁄3 cup ground sumac

2 tbsp diced preserved lemon

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp ground cumin seed

10 whole cloves crushed

1 tbsp chili flakes

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped

3 pounds kosher salt

3 crushed cinnamon sticks

1 cup water


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Score the exterior of the lamb with a sharp paring knife.

Combine the sumac, preserved lemon, ground cinnamon, cumin, cloves, chili flakes and 1 tablespoon of the salt in a small bowl.

Rub the spice mixture over the lamb.

Cover the lamb loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Make a paste by combining the remaining kosher salt, and crushed cinnamon sticks.

Layer one-quarter of the salt paste in the bottom of a roasting pan. Set the lamb leg on top of the salt paste and mold the remaining salt paste over the lamb.

Roast the lamb until it reads 140°F to 150°F on a meat thermometer, about 1 to 1.5 hours. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes, then remove and discard the salt crust.

Wipe the lamb with paper towels to remove the excess salt and rest for another 10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get your Western Living fix delivered straight to your inbox three times a week, packed with editors’ picks, designer tips and inspiring recipes.